Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » January 2005 » Obscure Country of the Week IV: Tanzania

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01/27/2005: Obscure Country of the Week IV: Tanzania

This week's Obscure Country is Tanzania. (Previous Obscure Countries have been Uruguay, Botswana, and Bhutan.)

Mainland Tanzania, or Tanganyika, is on the east coast of Africa, south of Kenya and north of Mozambique. The two islands of Zanzibar are also part of the Tanzania. It has a popluation of 36 million. Tanzania has two capital cities, Dar es Salaam and Dodoma. The primary language is Swahili, although English and Arabic are also widely spoken. The population of mainland Tanzania is about 30% Christian and 35% Muslim, with the remaining 35% following indigeonous religious beliefs. The islands of Zanzibar are almost completely Muslim.

Tanzania was formed from the merger of the Tanganyika with Zanzibar in 1964. Both regions had previously been British protectorates. Tanzania was under one-party rule until 1995, when it held it's first multi-party election. Zanzibar is partly autonomous, and has it's own president and legislature.

Tanzania is a very poor country, whose economy is dominated by agriculture, even though only four percent of the land is arable. Zanzibar's economy is dominated by spices and tourism.

Josh Parsons gives Tanzania's flag a B grade. I disagree with Josh's verdict of "bad colors."

flag of Tanzania

Zanzibar recently adopted a flag of its own. I'd give it a B grade as well.

flag of Zanzibar

Singer Farrokh Bulsara, whom you may know better as "Freddie Mercury," was born in Zanzibar.

For more on Tanzania, see the Wikipedia, the CIA World Factbook, and the BBC Country Profile.

Disclaimer: the only criterion for being an "Obscure Country of the Week" is that I do not know much about it myself. This series is mostly an exercise in self-education.

Brock on 01.27.05 @ 07:35 PM CST

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